Copper and Goldplate Copper Kitchen Utensils

Copper works, an important part of Topkapı Palace’s kitchenware, are exhibited in the Confectionery House (Helvahâne) where sweets such as halva, candies, the gumlike candy called “macun”, “baklava”, many other confections and also soap were produced for the use of the palace residents.

All of the pots used to cook food in the palace kitchens are made entirely of copper. These pots are quite big, since they were used to serve all those resident in the palace. This would amount to food for at least five thousand people per day and even more on special occasions. The collection includes copper pots with diameters of 60, 70, and 105 centimeters. Copper pots meant for use in Topkapı Palace were produced in Istanbul’s Süleymaniye district. The hammering technique was used in the construction of the pots, while chasing and incising were used in their decoration. Tombac ware is an important group within the palace’s kitchenware. Tombac, obtained by applying a gold and mercury alloy to copper so as to produce a golden hue, was first used in Ottoman culture in the 16th century but did not achieve widespread use until the 17th century. Several examples of tombac ware dating from the 18th and 19th centuries can be found in the palace collection: basin and ewer sets, rose water vessels (gülâbdan), censers, containers for cups and for sherbet, water jugs, milk pitchers, small service trays, covered bowls, soup bowls, coffee kettles, ladles and containers for carrying cooked food. Additionally, the collection contains stone kitchen bowls, marble and bronze mortars, small plates made of coloured stone, service trays, candy bowls, and sherbet glasses.